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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a Women's Day rally in Istanbul, Turkey, March 5, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

(reuters_tickers)

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government on Monday rejected Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's comparison of current German policies to the Nazi era, urged both sides to stay "calm and level-headed" and not lose sight of the close ties that bind the two NATO allies.

"We firmly reject any comparisons between the policies of the democratic Federal Republic of Germany and the Nazi times," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference. "Such comparisons are always absurd and out of place because they lead to only to one thing: a trivialisation of crimes against humanity."

Seibert said Germany would continue to allow Turkish politicians to speak in Germany as long as they were open about their intentions and did not import Turkish conflicts to Germany. He also said the European Union should investigate to ensure that funds paid to Turkey to pave the way for its accession to the EU were achieving their intended purpose.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Michael Nienaber; Writing by Andrea Shalal)

Reuters